Friday, January 28, 2011

Quito - Tena, Ecuador

This post is about Quito and an Amazon Jungle tour in Tena, in Ecuador.

I've crossed the borber on Jan 20th from Pasto, Colombia. My favorite border crossing so far; it was free of charge and fairly fast, only an hour and no BS about waiting hours and hours for no reasons...
I arrived in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and found a very nice hotel in old city centro for only $12; Hotel Plaza del Teatro Internacional. In front of the Teatro Sucre; 

Spent a few days just walking around the old town, I've bought oil and did my own 30 000km service (at 28438km). Looked at buying helmet camera and this doesn't exist here, it's like trying to find a road atlas in Mexico. Ordered one online then found the one I've tought I've lost. Oh well, I'll have 2!

Jan 25th. After a fews days of not doing much headed to Tena and bumbed into Marcus again on the side of the road taking picture of what I think is the volcan Antisana (5704m).  
I never thought Ecuador would have such big mountains I think this one from far in the mount Cotopaxi and also has a 5896 m high volcan! We were at over 3000 m altitude on the road.

Otherwise the scenery of Ecuador is similar to Colombia but not as much impressive.

We arrived in Tena and found an hostel near the river.

Marcus was up for a beer, why not? He never asked for one before! 
Tena is consider a gateway to the Amazon Jungle, many tours are availlable here; rafting, cayak, jungle tours, etc.  We looked at a few and it's not so easy to find out which one would be the best.
At night Marcus was talking with this kind restaurent owner and she knew every tours offer in Tena from Marcus's Lonelyplanet book. She recommended what she considered to be the best one, from the hostal Lemon Cocha. We took a cab to get there, only $1 for the cab ride can you beleive it? And we booked a tour for the following day. Unfortunately to have a full Amazon experience it takes many days and is expensive. I didn't have the time or wanted to spend the money for that, but I think we've found a good compromise. 
 an haircut is $1,50 here.
 The german guy that organize the tours. His english wasn't perfect, in his tour sheets it was saying that "robber boot" were provided. I didn't know "robber" boot existed.
Our guide Jose and  Marcus before the tour. 

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, he knew everything about the animals and the plants in the jungle and what they can be used for. 

And our guide gave a pretty flower to Marcus. 

 The liquid coming out of this has many properties, and is used to make creams and mascara.

 This tree can move a little bit to follow the sunlight.
 This one can be much bigger and was used to make sound signals by banging it with a log. The sound would go very far.
 And I also got a pretty flower to put in my mouth for funny pictures.
Jose knew how to quicly make a bag out of leaves. 

 This tree is a rubber tree, not to confound with robber tree :P
You see the marks on the tree, they make cuts to get the rubbery white stuff.
After being processed it become black, apparently. 

 Can you see the animal in this picture?
a frog with dead leaf camouflage 
 It was a jungle tour/adventure; we had to climb up these little cascades.

 Marcus looking like a giant, he's on a higher rock and also taller than me.
 Then we went swimming over there next to the river. 

The electronis stores; they sell fridge, stove, tv's and bikes all in the same store. Taxi is $1, haircut $1,50, gas $1,50/gal, $1/gal for diesel, but you'll pay a fortune to any electronics and it'll be very old technologies. It's easily double price compared to Canada.  

At night, I've seen Marcus having an haircut and took a million pictures of him while he couldn't do anything about it. He got lots of attention, I think the guy was also making a educationnal video. 
Our new cameraman friend; Noe, he really wanted to see our motorcycles and seemed interested in our trip 

 We then had a beer at what seemed to be the coolest bar in town just across the river from our hostel, it was our last night here, we then headed to Banos, yes that's how the town is called.

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